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Russia Is Taking Advantage of the Invasion-Stirred Migration Crisis

4 43 11
19.07.2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin has created a new weapon against the West. More than 6 million Ukrainians have sought refuge in European Union countries; now they’re being followed by a new migration wave from countries harmed by the absence of Ukrainian grain. But in addition to the Ukrainian refugees, the number of asylum-seekers who arrived in the EU during the first half of this year almost doubled compared with the same period last year. The interim head of Frontex, the EU border agency, is warning of “waves of migration” as a result of Russia blocking exports of Ukrainian grain, which is creating food crises globally.

By creating migration waves that will destabilize Europe, Putin is harming the continent without directly using military force against countries outside Ukraine. As ever, Putin is happy to generate chaos that will hurt others—and to take advantage of it for Russia.

Between January and June this year, 114,720 migrants arrived in the EU illegally. Most Ukrainians, whom the EU has committed to hosting, aren’t included in this number. The growing throng of people arriving illegally instead includes Afghans, Bangladeshis, Egyptians, Tunisians, Syrians, and Iraqis. On the Central Mediterranean route, Frontex registered 25,164 illegal border crossings, 23 percent more than in the first six months of 2021. Most of them were Bangladeshis, Egyptians, and Tunisians. But many more people are being smuggled via the Western Balkans; illegal entries into the EU via this route were up by nearly 200 percent compared with the same period last year. Many others are arriving via the Eastern Mediterranean and applying for asylum in Cyprus, where numbers were up by 125 percent.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has created a new weapon against the West. More than 6 million Ukrainians have sought refuge in European Union countries; now they’re being followed by a new migration wave from countries harmed by the absence of Ukrainian grain. But in addition to the Ukrainian refugees, the number of asylum-seekers who arrived in the EU during the first half of this year almost doubled compared with the same period last year. The interim head of Frontex, the EU border agency, is warning of “waves of migration” as a result of Russia blocking exports of Ukrainian grain, which........

© Foreign Policy


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